This is the other reason I wanted to do two chapters at once – I knew that with my schedule yesterday I might not be able to post on Monday. Whether or not I can do chapter 19 tonight or not remains to be seen, since it’s 50+ verses.
This chapter continues to be a bit biased against non-Judah tribes (not surprising since the editor was either a Judahite or a Levite), as they’re depicted to be dawdling in occupying the land. Joshua gives them a kick in the pants, and they send delegates who map out the remaining land and divide it up into portions that they then draw lots for.
Supposedly what they’ve done is wipe or drive out everyone in the land (except for all the people they didn’t) then regathered to divide it up. That’s… bizarre. Unoccupied land doesn’t stay unoccupied in an area of the word full of nomadic herders. You wouldn’t clear out land, leave it, and expect it to still be clear when you came back. That might be an argument for why Joshua is frustrated with their delay, but it’s also an argument that this isn’t literally what happened. The theory that this is based on a tale of land reform by current residents after evicting Egyptian occupation actually makes this chapter make a lot more sense.
Benjamin is a small tribe (the 11th in size), so it gets a small area of land, but a good one in terms of location, being right near Jericho and Gilgal. The next chapter covers the remaining six tribes, and thus gets pretty long.
The Japanese: tamerau “to hesitate, to waver” (v 3), haken suru “to send, to delegate,” junkai suru “to patrol” (v 4), bunkatsu suru “to divide between,” todomarareru “to be limited to” (v 5), karyuu “downstream” (v 12), temae “this side” (v 14).